BY CALLIE CONERTON
For the UAS Whalesong
This is an important time for the University and we at Student Government are working hard to make sure that the students are fairly represented within the University, the University system and in the State of Alaska. With the spring semester well on it’s way and the legislative session coming along strong, it is going to be one hell of a ride.
In terms of the Legislature, we have two bills on the table that will affect the students at the University. Chris Christensen, UA VP of State Affairs reported,
“*SB 174 – Guns on Campus*SB 174, “An Act relating to the regulation of firearms and knives by the University of Alaska,” was introduced by Senator Pete Kelly on Monday the 8th. The bill was assigned to the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Education Committee has already scheduled two hearings next week. SB 174 takes away most of the Board of Regents’ authority to regulate the carrying of concealed handguns at the university, even by persons who don’t have a concealed carry permit. The Board is opposed to the bill in its current form. The bill appears to have many supporters in the Senate and is on a fast track. Senator Mike Dunleavy, the chair of the Senate Education Committee, is a co-sponsor of the bill, as is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Lesil McGuire. You can find more information on SB 174 at http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/29?Root=SB%20174 .”
We had students and staff alike testify in front of the Senate Education Committee this week.
The House Education Committee had a hearing on HB 264, “An Act relating to repayment of Alaska performance scholarships and Alaska education grants.” The bill was introduced by Representative Tammie Wilson, and it would require repayment of Alaska Performance Scholarships and education grants if the recipient doesn’t complete the postsecondary program enrolled in within six years. UAF Provost Susan Henrichs submitted a letter expressing concerns about the effects of the bill on students. You can get more information about the bill and read the letter here: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/get_bill.asp?session=29&bill=HB264”
We held a budget forum with Chancellor Rick Caulfield a week ago. It was amazing how many students and staff showed up to talk with the Chancellor and be apart of the conversation regarding the budget. We are super thankful for the opportunity to have that discussion with the students and the administration.
We held a bonfire as a part of Winterfest and had a blast bonding with students and were able to reach out to many different students. It was a great event and there was even a conga line around the fire at Noyes Pavilion. We also had two senators that jumped as apart of the Polar Plunge and raised money for AWARE.
As a Student Government, we are meeting with the Coalition of Student Leaders later this month, with student leaders from all over the state so that we can, as a unite focus, advocate for the University and the students of the University at the legislature. We have meetings with most of the legislators and we have many speakers coming to speak to the student leaders.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the BANFF Mountain Film Festival. It will be March 2nd at Centennial Hall. Doors are opening at 6:30pm with the show starting at 7pm. This is a one night event so make sure to make it! It will be $15 for the public but only $10 for students! You can purchase tickets at Student Accounts, Hearthside books, many places around town and at the door! See you there!